Hucklebe Essay, Research Paper
Comparison and Contrast of Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn are two similar novels written by Mark Twain that deal with the coming of age of two different characters. Tomas Sawyer is the main character in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn is the main character in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Both of these characters are similar to each other but they do have differences that make them unique and interesting. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is the story about Tom Sawyer and his experiences of growing up in a small town on the Mississippi. Tom Sawyer is a young adult, around the age of twelve, whose parents are dead and who lives with his Aunt Polly, half-brother Sid, and cousin Mary. Tom is an imaginative and mischievous boy who dislikes the rigors of school, Sunday school, and Church. He frequently plays hooky so he can enjoy such activities as swimming and playing Robin Hood with Joe Harper, who is one of his best friends. One night Tom and Huck witness the murder of Dr. Robinson by Injun Joe. Muff Potter was told by Injun Joe that he had committed the murder. Tom, Huck, and Joe then have adventures as pirates on Jackson s Island. They soon return home and Tom wins the love of Becky Thatcher. Muff Potter s trial has begun and Tom is called to testify of Muff s innocence. During his testimony Injun Joe jumps out the window of the courtroom and disappears. On one treasure hunt Tom and Huck discover that Injun Joe is planning revenge and that he also has a treasure at Number Two. Later, on a picnic trip to McDugal s Cave, Tom and Becky get lost inside of the cave. Tom finds a way out and two weeks later he finds out that they have since sealed the cave. Tom revels Injun Joe was inside the cave and when they find him he is dead. Huck and Tom return to the cave later and recover the twelve thousand-dollar treasure. The money is invested and the Widow Douglas takes in Huck. The book ends with Tom, Huck, and some of the other village boy being inducted into a gang. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is the story of Huck Finn and his adventures while floating down the Mississippi with Jim, a runaway slave. The novel picks up where The Adventures of Tom Sawyer left off except for the fact that Huck becomes the main character. Huck is unhappily living with the Widow Douglas and is soon kidnapped by his drunken, low-life father because he found out that Huck was worth money. Huck s father beats him and soon he fears for his life. Huck escapes and then goes to Jackson s Island and finds Jim. Men start searching for Jim so they decide to float down the Mississippi. Jim and Huck both feel free on the river and they contrive a plan to float to Cairo and take the Ohio River up to the free states. Because of a storm they float past Cairo and run into a steam ship. Huck swims to shore and is soon taken in by the Grangerfields. The Grangerfields are involved in a feud with another family and soon Huck gets sick of all of the people that are being killed. Huck finds Jim with the rebuilt raft and they resume their trip down the Mississippi. Two scoundrels soon join them and start contriving plans to take other peoples money. The king and the duke sell Jim to Silas Phelps because they are flat broke. Huck goes to the Phelps farm to get Jim back and is mistaken for Tom Sawyer, who is supposed to be arriving any day. Huck meets Tom and they decide that Huck will stay Tom and that Tom will become Sid. Together they come up with a plan to free Jim but their plans fail. Tom soon reveals that Jim was free all along because his owner, Miss Watson, freed him before she died. Tomas Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn are both about twelve at the beginning of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Tom does not have any parents and so he lives with his Aunt Polly. He has a loving, happy home with a devoted aunt to care for him. Tom is restricted by the routine of prayers, meals, chores, and bedtime but if it gets too much for him to handle he can always escape to the river or the woods and play games. He sleeps in a bed, washes regularly, and wears clean clothes. His normal, day to day life includes going to school, Sunday school, and church. To Tom, this monotonous schedule is boring and so he rouses things up with various pranks. Huck is not as fortunate as Tom. He doesn t have a loving home to go to every day. Huck sleeps in hogsheads or on doorsteps or where every possible. His dad is the town drunkard and only arrives on the scene when he finds that Huck has money. The only things he remembers about his mom are her fights with his dad. Huck s lifestyle is much more free and open than Tom s lifestyle. He wears the discarded clothing of older people in the village even though most of it does not fit. Since there is no one to force Huck to bath, he goes without washing. There is no one to provide meals for him so he eats whenever it is convenient and possible. He doesn t have a bed to sleep on and never wears clean clothes because he doesn t have too much of a choice in what he wears, he just wears what ever he can find. Huck doesn t attend school, Sunday school, or church. His life is mostly free of responsibility and chores and he swims, fishes, and smokes whenever he wants. Of the two, Tom is the more respected in society and accepted by people. Tom is able to conform more to society because he goes to church and school. Because Huck doesn t go to church or school he is considered an outcast of society, but this doesn t bother Huck. He is happy with his situation and his uncomplicated life. Huck doesn t feel that he has to live by the standards of society. Many of the mothers of St. Petersburg, the town in which they live, fear Huckleberry and forbid their kids to play with him because they believe that he would be a bad influence on them. Even though Tom pulls many pranks and goes on more adventures he never does anything so bad that would ridicule him from society. He has his aunts good morals instilled in him and they keep him from doing anything that would be really wrong. When Tom, Joe, and Huck run off to Jackson s Island and become pirates they boast of capturing ships and killing men but they never hold true to their words. Tom s and Joe s conscience both bother them when they run off to the island because they know that their families are worrying about them and they feel particularly bad about stealing the bacon and ham. The only way Tom and Joe can fall asleep the first night is by stating that they will not steal again. Huck on the other hand doesn t have a care in the world and falls asleep right away. His conscience doesn t bother him and he actually likes it a lot on the island because he gets more to eat than normal and there is no one to pick on him. Religion is an important part of Tom s life but it is not as important a part of Huck s life. Tom rebels against memorizing Bible verses and attending Sunday school and church but he does have a conscience and he does believe in what he has been taught about God and the Devil. He feels guilty about his decision not to tell the truth about Injun Joe after Dr. Robinson s murder. When Tom is on Jackson s Island he says his prayers even though he doesn’t have to. Huck on the other hand doesn t attend church but does have a conscience that we can see when he tells Mary Jane Wilks that the duke and the king are frauds and that the slaves will be returned within a couple of weeks. He can t stand to see such a good and upright lady schemed out of money by a couple of bad people like the king and the duke.
Tom and Huck both admire each other but for different reasons. Huck looks up to Tom because of his knowledge of books. Because Huck has had no formal education he cannot read all of the novels and other books such as Don Quixote and Henry the VIII that Tom reads. Tom therefore informs Huck of all the proper things a pirate must do. He explains to Huck about how pirates have to murder and steal but he also tells of how they can t murder women or children. Tom claims that they would have to bring them back to the cave and hold them prisoner until the woman falls in love with them. Tom admires Huck because of his extensive knowledge of superstition and the supernatural. Huck knows various signs and omens and understands the power of witches and devils. He tells Tom that devils go to graveyards to get a dead person that has been wicked and that even though you can t see the devils you can hear them rustle like the wind. Huck also tells Tom that when a witch is witching you, she stares at you and mumbles the Lord s Prayer backward. Because Huckleberry has no schooling he accepts superstitions more readily than does Tom. Tom, being the more educated, is more critical and questions whether certain superstitions are really true. Women are much more important to Tom then they are to Huck. Because of his feelings about society, he doesn t feel that he needs to impress anyone, including women. He does however notice that some women such as Mary Jane Wilks are prettier than other women. Tom totally forgets his first love, Amy Lawrence, when he sees Becky Thatcher. He soon falls in love with Becky and tries to gain her love by performing various gymnastic feats and she acknowledges him by throwing a pansy over the fence. Tom proves that he would do anything for Becky by taking a beating that was rightfully hers. Huck is much more literal minded than Tom. He takes everything at face value and believes everything that he hears. This fact makes Huck a very good narrator. He reports everything just as it happened with straightforward accuracy in an easy to understand fashion. Huck is so literal minded that he doesn t even understand the joke about where Moses was when the lights went out. He really believes that if you rub a lamp that a genie will appear and it doesn t seem possible to Huck that the drunk riding the horse is actually a trained acrobat. On the underhand, Tom has a much more imaginative mind and he interprets things much more than Huck does. The imagination of Tom is stimulated by all of the books he reads and by all of the stories he hears. He is an avid reader and many of the adventures he goes on are modeled out of the books that he has read. Tom has memorized the story of Robin Hood and relays to Joe exactly how things must go and exactly what words have to be said when they are playing. He knows exactly what robbers and pirates do even though he might not know their reasons for doing it. Tom and Huck are both adventurous but Tom is an idealist who tries to make an adventure out of anything and everything while Huck is more of a realist who prefers to just get things done. Tom s plans are always extravagant and sometimes absurd while Huck s are simple and practical. For example, when Tom and Huck decide that they are going to free Jim, Huck wants to free him in the easiest fashion but Tom decides that they must free him in the most elaborate and complicated method. Tom s fantastic plan involves digging a tunnel, sawing off a bedpost, implanting a rope ladder in a pie, and a whole host of other frivolous extras while Huck just wants to steal the key and let him go. The fact that makes Tom s plan even more amazing is that he knew Jim was free all along because Miss Watson set Jim free in her will. Tom risked putting everyone in danger just for the sake of an adventure and because of this adventure he almost dies because of a bullet that hit him in the rescue effort. Adaptability is a very important quality that both Tom and Huck utilize. We can see that Huck is somewhat more adaptable than Tom because he lives under constantly changing conditions. Huck is able to learn to tolerate living with the Widow Douglas and her constant efforts to sivilize him. Faster than a blink of the eye Huck can adapt to living on his own in the wilderness and then he can change his lifestyle again to suit living on a raft or at the Grangerfords. Tom doesn t get the opportunity to prove his adaptability as much as Tom but he does manage to adapt to living at Jackson s Island fairly well. Huck and Tom both display compassion and sympathy towards others characters who are probably not deserving of it. Huck shows his compassion for others when he risks his own life to try and save the cutthroats of the Walter Scott and when he saves the king and the duke from the posse. Later, he even feels sorry for them when they are tarred and feathered. Tom felt sympathy for the evil Injun Joe when he heard of how he died because Tom himself knew what it was like to suffer the way Injun Joe did before his death. Tom and Huck have an understanding of human nature that allows them to deceive and manipulate other people. A perfect example of this can be seen when Tom, understanding that there isn t much difference between work and play, exploits various young people around the town to whitewash the fence for him. He is even able to accumulate a small fortune in items such as marbles, chalk, and firecrackers. When Huck is confronted with the slave hunters he creates a story that plays upon the selfishness and pettiness of the hunters. Huck indirectly claims that his dad has small pox and this scares the hunters from going anywhere near the raft, saving Jim from discovery, and even causes the hunters to feel sorry for Huck and so they give him money. As you can see Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn are two very unique characters that are the creation of Mark Twain. They have some outstanding similarities such as their understanding of human nature and adventurous personality but at the same time they have striking differences such as their view of society and their methods of obtaining their goals. The similarities and differences of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn allow the reader to love, admire, and respect each character in their own unique fashion. BIBLIOGRAPHY Roberts, James L. Cliffs Notes on Twain s Huckleberry Finn. Lincoln, Nebraska: Cliffs Notes Inc., 1971 Thayer, Marion P. Cliffs Notes on Twain s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Lincoln, Nebraska: Cliffs Notes Inc., 1964